UDC News


August 16 , 2007

UDC Experiment on Teaching District Public School Students college level math -- huge success


Two years ago when University of the District of Columbia (UDC) physics professor Dr. Daryao Khatri found so many of his DC public school high school graduates were completely unprepared for college, he and several of his colleagues decided they needed to get involved in “re-teaching how they were learning.”  Almost without exception, public school students coming to UDC had no competent skills or training in college level physics, organics chemistry or even elementary mathematics. 

Alarmed that these inner-city kids were doomed to failure, without these basic learning tools, Dr. Khatri began teaching the basic physics lessons they should have received in high school.  Later, along with Ph.D. organic chemistry professors Mehdi Hajiyani and Isadora J. Posey, Dr. Khatri formulated a rigorous teaching course in the other sciences.  He began to assist students in organics chemistry the same way he had in physics, and saw some amazing results.  These results included dramatic adjustments not only in their levels of comprehension, but saw phenomenal leaps in student class retention rates.

This spring Dr. Khatri, encouraged by his earlier successes, asked UDC to fund an experimental project of an 8-week summer course of students who had applied and been accepted to UDC – and who were willing to spend some of their summer vacation time in the classroom.

Of the 263 DC public school students accepted by UDC this fall, Professor Khatri and his colleagues decided on selecting 17 of the “most academically challenged” ones – students who in high school had shown no aptitude for learning basic math, much less geometry or trigonometry.

On Friday, August 17th, the University will introduce these seventeen young men and woman, all of whom have completed their 8-week crash course in high school college mathematics.  They are all currently doing math on a 2nd year college level, and will not have to take the UDC entry level math course.  In addition, we hope to introduce you to the young man Dr. Khatri first took under his tutelage in physics.  He is currently in graduate school at George Washington University.  We also hope to introduce you to two of the students who were given the accelerated course in organic chemistry.  They are currently in graduate school at John Hopkins University.

The lessons here, as Dr. Khatri puts it, “are that these DC public school students are quite capable of learning.”  Dr. Khatri and his colleagues hope to get DC public school teachers into the UDC summer classrooms next year, and “train them on how to hold their inner-city student’s attention -- while teaching them physics, organic chemistry and math. 

“After all,” said Khatri, “one of the University of the District of Columbia’s primary functions was to be a training center for DC teachers, as well as a land-grant institution of higher education for DC students.  It was why we were originally established.”

Members of the media are cordially invited to come and meet these students and the dedicated professors who developed this unique program.  Please join us at a small luncheon on Friday. 


   WHAT:        Luncheon and Press Availability

   WHERE:     University of the District of Columbia
                        Building 44, Room 301 
                        4200 Connecticut Ave., NW
            Washington, DC 20008
            Metro – Red Line, Van Ness

   WHEN:        Friday, August 17, 2007 – 12 - Noon  






            The University of the District of Columbia is the fully-accredited sole public source for accessible, inclusive, affordable, and comprehensive public higher education in the District of Columbia and provides additional life-long learning opportunities. The University delivers quality instruction and uses student-centered approaches to empower and benefit both individuals and its local communities.  The University, an urban land grant institution, is a very diverse community, a gateway to the world, and a significant investment engine for the District of Columbia.  The University is located at 4200 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, and is conveniently located at the Van Ness/UDC stop on the Red Line of Metro.  For more information on other University activities, contact Mike Andrews, Senior Director for Communications and University Spokesperson at (202) 274-5685 or visit the University’s web site at www.udc.edu.